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Saturday, October 06, 2012

Combining Pastel Techniques for Exciting Results

'Desert Fire'     8x10      pastel    ©Karen Margulis  available $125 HERE
What would happen if?   That is one of my favorite questions when painting.  Once you learn the basics of your medium I think it is a good thing to experiment and push the limits of your knowledge. To me this is the best part of being an artist. I want to explore and find new ways of expressing my vision.  I have learned a successful technique for painting skies and clouds but if I used the same technique for every painting my work would get stale.

If you have been following my blog you've seen me experiment with pastel techniques. I have been exploring the possibilities of mixing pastel with water.  Last Spring I was on a kick with a dusting technique. You can see the dusting technique on my blog HERE.

For this painting I had the idea to combine water with dusting. What an exciting combination! Here is what I did:

  • I am using an 8x10 piece of Pastelbord.  I blocked in the sky and cloud colors with terry Ludwig pastels. I added a dark purple foreground. I was inspired by a photo but I pushed the intensity of the colors.
  • Using a small spray bottle I sprayed the clouds with water. I was disappointed in the results because I had made the clouds too dark. When I wet them they ran into the light areas and overpowered them. They did dry lighter which I need to remember next time! 
  • This was a class demo and so I needed to rescue the too dark painting!  So I decided to shave some pastel onto the clouds to brighten them up. I used a palette knife and shaved some pastel dust into the wet areas. Some of the dust spread and some stayed put.
  • I tilted the board to get some of the puddles to run and one of my students had the great idea to blow on the puddles with a straw. I ran up to my kitchen and got a straw which was another fun effect!
  • I had intended to go back into the painting once it was dry but I decided I liked the way the sky dried so all I did was add some orange and stronger darks in the foreground land mass.
So there is the answer to the question What would happen if I wet the pastel, blew it around the surface and shaved some pastel dust onto the painting!

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